Secular Humanism Is Not a Religion

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By Lee Salisbury

In a recent letter to the Stillwater Gazette editor, Chris Nitardy claims that Secular Humanism is a religion and that this religion kicked God out of our schools, thereby prohibiting prayer in schools.

Wow! Too bad Chris’ religion isn’t as powerful; it too would be able to kick his God’s enemies out of the public schools. Apparently Chris worships some mediocre mythical god of his imagination. But don’t despair Chris, you’ve got lots of company as humanity seems to have an unending history of worshiping mythical, inept gods.

Seriously Chris, is it possible for a philosophical perspective to be a religion? If so, where are the Secular Humanist churches and pastors? Which god do they worship? What hymns do they sing? And if they do worship a god, is it any more inept than your god?     And Chris, please tell us which god you worship? If it’s the bible’s God, you make a disobedient representative – because the bible’s God specifically commands, “Thou shall not bear false witness.”

Your letter to the editor contains numerous distortions, false representations and flat-out lies.

Chris states that God was removed from public schools. Apparently Chris does not know of the bible’s God, who the bible represents as omnipotent and omnipresent. If true, this God could not be removed from anywhere or anything. If Chris’ God can be pushed around with ease by mere humans, does he/she deserve to be called God?

And Chris states, “prayer was removed from public school.” Hmm, I don’t recall hearing about police arresting children for praying in school or for having prayer meetings. Nor have we heard about children being suspended from school for praying in school. This would certainly be the case if prayer in school were against the law.    Apparently, Chris’ definition of prayer is when a government official writes out a prayer and it is read over a public-address system. Does Chris really believe a cold, lifeless written prayer is the kind of prayer that gets a god’s attention? The god of that kind of prayer deserves to be kicked out of our schools.

The constitutional ruling prohibiting prayer to which Chris refers was based upon the First Amendment and respect for the many beliefs in our pluralistic society.     But maybe the reality is that Chris has no concern for children of differing beliefs. So, tough luck to those of other religious beliefs such as Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Hindu, or non-theistic children. God is going to send them all to burn in hell, right Chris?

Chris laments, “our culture … has become secularized.” With examples like Chris and Michele Bachman, can you blame us?

Bachmann stated in Congress, “I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if President Abraham Lincoln, one of President Obama’s heroes, would have said overseas that he believed America was a nation of secularists…”

This is typical of Michele’s lies and distortions said to please her misguided fear-mongering rightwing constituency like Chris.

What President Obama actually said was, “I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is – although as I mentioned we have a very large Christian population – we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation, or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”

Chris states: “When a student examines the world through a Darwinian lens long enough, life becomes ultimately meaningless.” Really Chris? Have you ever once read a book explaining Secular Humanism or evolution? Have you ever once talked to an evolutionary biologist?

Has Chris ever heard of Kenneth Miller, Ph.D., a devout Roman Catholic, professor of evolutionary biology at Brown University and author of Only a Theory and Finding Darwin’s God? Dr. Miller was one of several evolutionary biologists who were instrumental in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover, Pa., case which exposed the lies and fabrications of Intelligent Design (ID) proponents. After six weeks of extensive hearings, the George Bush-appointed judge, John E. Jones, slammed the door on the ID-loving Dover school board’s “breathtaking inanity,” opining that Intelligent Design completely lacked any scientific basis. 

So, whose life has greater meaning – a misinformed, misguided Chris Nitardy or the thousands of biologists, geologists, cosmologists, and paleontologists who have devoted their lives to understanding the origins of our world?

(Salisbury’s article originally appeared in the April 29, 2010 edition of the Stillwater Gazette under the title “Salisbury: Secular Humanism has not dominated this nation’s schools.” –ed.)

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